An Interview with Wayne Thorpe:
President and CEO of Circuit Specialists, Inc.
by Marvin Mallon
Mesa, AZ is home to one of the
largest distributors of electronic equipment and supplies in the country. The 12,000 square
foot facility of Circuit Specialists, Inc.,
houses the more than 11,000 items
that they sell by mail order, as well as
online. Fourteen employees oversee
the operation of this company that has
been in business since 1971.
This privately-owned corporation
was founded by two brothers — Leon
and Darrel Thorpe. Darrel worked for
Motorola in Scottsdale, AZ and thought
that those wonderful new devices called
integrated circuits would be a good
product to sell via mail order. Leon made
a financial investment and they both
started Circuit Specialists. They kept their
regular jobs and met in the evenings to
prepare the orders and ship them out.
Darrell sold his interest in the company back in 1984 and still resides in
Scottsdale. Leon stayed active until 1998
when his health began to deteriorate. He
passed away this past September.
In 1984, Leon’s son, Wayne,
joined the operation. He assumed the
role of President and CEO at that
time. When interviewed for this
column, Wayne Thorpe replied to the
W: I was born in 1950 in Stretford,
England, a suburb of Manchester. Dad
was in the US Air Force and married
while stationed there. We lived off
base and I attended local schools for
most of the time. I ended up thinking
I was British. When I was 16 years old
my parents and I moved to the US.
M: Any hobbies or interests other than
overseeing the operation of your
W: I played football (that’s what the
British call soccer) as a kid in England.
To this day, I help to organize and
coach a high-level soccer team and
serve as an off-campus advisor at a
Phoenix-area high school.
M: Is there a newly developed product
ready for release?
W: We are currently incubating a new
CNC (Computer Numerical Control)
department. We have set up a machining shop in-house to develop prototypes
of various standard CNC systems that
we will offer. We have already sourced
our primary raw stock and electronics
from Taiwan and China and we feel we
can penetrate this sector of the market
by offering very good quality CNC
platforms at industry best price points.
Marvin: Where were you employed prior
to coming on-board at Circuit Specialists?
Wayne: I worked in the electronics
industry as a professional sales representative for GC Electronics. I covered the
Southwest territory of Arizona, New
Mexico, and West Texas from 1977 till
1979. In 1980, I joined the Heath Group
of Phoenix as Vice President. They are a
sales marketing company that I worked
with over the next four years.
M: Getting back to business, tell us
more about Circuit Specialists.
W: Since the mid 1980s, we have
focused on importing products from
Taiwan, Korea, and China so that we
can offer our customers excellent value.
We maintain an agency office in Taipei
and we have a full time employee and
office in ShenZhen, China to help us
facilitate sourcing of products. This strategy allows us to cut out the profit from
the traditional importer, which makes us
more competitive without degrading
the quality of the products we can offer.
We are strongest in test equipment,
power supplies, soldering equipment,
and PC-based data acquisition and control products and tools. Additionally, we
maintain stock on some major brand
name products such as FLUKE. We also
have a large inventory of old style DIP
ICs, as well as LEDs, diodes, capacitors,
and other passive components.
M: Finally, is there anything else you
care to say about your organization?
W: Circuit Specialists has been providing electronic equipment and supplies
to educational institutions, corporate
entities, and government/military
customers for over 35 years. We ship
most items from stock the same day we
receive the order. Additionally, our website shows our current stock levels to our
customers so they can make an appropriate decision based on their requirements for delivery. When an order is
shipped, our customers get an auto-generated email providing them with a
packing list and a UPS tracking number.
Our most important customer is
the individual hobbyist, designer, or
small manufacturer. We strive to offer
best value deals on quality products.
Our goal is to provide great customer
service and our strategy is to offer
good products at great prices. NV
CSI — interior view
M: Where and when were you born?
220 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa, AZ 85210
April 2007 67